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Friday, February 21, 2014

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : FRI. FEB. 21, 2014 - SHARE

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LATEST FROM POPE FRANCIS AND CARDINALS IN VATICAN

BABY WAS LEFT IN A PAPER BAG ON THE HIGHWAY - see what happens....

TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 21 : ST. PETER DAMIAN

Vatican Radio/VIS REPORT: On Friday morning, 150 cardinals participated in the extraordinary consistory on the family, said Fr. Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, during a news briefing. He also communicated that the cardinals had expressed their warmest wishes to Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, who celebrated his 90th birthday on Friday. At 7 a.m. they concelebrated Holy Mass with the Pope in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The participants in the Consistory entrusted to Fr. Lombardi the reading of the following declaration, approved by the Holy Father, which summarises the thoughts of the Pope and the College of Cardinals: “During the extraordinary Consistory, the Holy Father and the College of Cardinals raised a special prayer to the Lord for the many Christians who, in various parts of the world, are increasingly frequently victims of acts of intolerance or persecution. To those who suffer for the Gospel, the Holy Father and the Cardinals wish to renew their assurance of their constant prayers, urging them to stand firm in their faith and to forgive their persecutors from their hearts, in imitation of Jesus Christ. “Equally, the thoughts of the Pope and the Cardinals turned to those nations which in this period are riven by internal conflicts, or by serious tensions which have consequences for civil co-existence, such as South Sudan or Nigeria, in a climate of growing indifference. At this time there is particular apprehension with regard to the evolution of the difficult situation in Ukraine, where it is hoped that all violence will cease immediately and that harmony and peace will be re-established.
 “Similarly, a great cause for concern is the continuing conflict in Syria, where it appears that the parties are still far from finding a lasting and peaceful solution, as well as the situation in the Central African Republic, which assumes greater proportions day by day. Initiatives on the part of the international community to promote peace and internal reconciliation, to guarantee the restoration of security and the rule of law, and to allow the indispensable access of humanitarian aid, are becoming increasingly urgent.
 “Unfortunately, it is evident that many of the current conflicts are described as being of a religious nature, not infrequently surreptitiously placing Christians and Muslims in opposition, whereas in reality these conflicts have origins of a mainly ethnic, political or economic nature. “The Catholic Church, on her part, in condemning every form of violence perpetrated in the name of religious belief, will not cease in her commitment to peace and reconciliation, through interreligious dialogue and the many charitable works which provide daily assistance and comfort to the suffering throughout the world”.
 After reading the declaration, Fr. Lombardi described the progress made on Friday, during which the Pope announced the name of the three presidents of the Synod on the Family: Cardinals Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France; Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines; and Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil. The three presidents represent three different continents. Forty-three presentations were given Thursday afternoon and this morning, and others are expected to take place as many cardinals have registered to speak.
“We do not know if they will all be able to do so”, explained Fr. Lombardi. “Some will submit their contribution in writing, so that it can be included among the proceedings and may be useful for joint reflection by the Synod”. Among the themes considered are the concept of the family according to a Christian anthropological perspective and its value in the context of a secularised culture which presents a different concept of the family, sexuality and the person and in which the Christian approach at times encounters difficulties. “Reflection did not take place in a climate of complaint”, commented Lombardi, “but rather of realism, observing the difficulty faced by Christianity in a culture that tends to go in another direction. John Paul II's 'Theology of the Body' was quoted on a number of occasions, as well as the encyclical 'Familiaris consortio' and the Catechism of the Catholic Church'.
Another issue related to various aspects of the pastoral care of the family, especially preparation for marriage and matrimonial and family spirituality”. The cardinals also considered the problem of remarried divorcees from the perspective of canon law, and spoke about the procedures for annulment with a view to their improvement and simplification. With regard to the administering of the Sacraments to remarried divorcees, there were broad ranging and detailed discussions, but no decisions or pronouncements were made on the issue. “There was neither tension nor anxiety in relation to this matter, but rather a positive approach characterised by discernment and a concerted search for the best way to combine fidelity to the words of Jesus with divine mercy and attention to specific situations, always with great sensitivity”, said the director of the Press Office, who repeated that a single direction should not be expected of the Consistory, but rather an encouraging introduction to the path of the Synod, which by working with this breadth of vision, will be able to advance the Church's pastoral response to the heartfelt hopes held by many in this area. Finally, the cardinals discussed various specific areas of family pastoral ministry, such as migration or religious ignorance. Text from Vatican Radio website

BABY WAS LEFT IN A PAPER BAG ON THE HIGHWAY - see what happens....

A Baby Was Left on the Highway in a Paper Bag, But a Miracle Saved Her...
Click Title of this story Link for Video

Pray for Venezuela - Violence escalates - Beauty Queen Killed

There are protests in Venezuela and violence between protesters and police. Nationwide protests started this February. On February 12, the demonstrations received attention when three people were killed. President Nicolas Maduro has been in power for 11 months after the death of Hugo Chavez. Many demonstrators across the country are students. Soldiers are shooting civilians on the street. So far 8 have died from these protests.
A Venezuela beauty queen, Genesis Carmona, age 22, was killed during the protests.Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was detained charges of terrorism and murder. He organized protests demanding better security, an end to shortages and protected freedom of speech. Lopez has denied the charges.


The charges against Lopez "smack of a politically motivated attempt to silence dissent in the country," .  Venezuelan officials accused the United States of destabilizing the government and gave three U.S. diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.  Chavez ruled for 14 years until his death last year.  Lopez remained in a military prison Thursday. His wife, Lilian Tintori de Lopez, called on supporters to keep the pressure on the government. "Don't give up," she said. "I won't." Venezuela is in South America and shares a border with Colombia, Brazil and Guyana; it has a population of 30 million.

ACTOR BEN PRICE OF CORONATION STREET - AMBASSADOR IN UGANDA - CALLS FOR AID

Corrie’s Ben Price sees ‘hidden hunger emergency’ in Uganda | Coronation Street, Ben Price,  CAFOD,  Uganda, Karamoja

Ben poses for selfie with children
IND. CATHOLIC NEWS REPORT: Coronation Street actor Ben Price, an ambassador for aid agency CAFOD, is calling for urgent action after visiting communities in Eastern Uganda suffering from severe hunger due to an extended dry spell. Ben travelled to the Karamoja region of Uganda to see how communities were being affected by a lack of food and water, and how crucial the work of CAFOD’s local partners has been in providing support, building livelihoods and keeping the peace within communities facing severe shortages.
 He is now backing CAFOD’s Dig Deep fundraising campaign, which starts next month, raising funds to help provide some of the world’s poorest communities with food, seeds, tools, agricultural training and other vital services such as health and education. Following his visit, Ben said: “It was quite shocking to see how people really are living day to day, hand to mouth, and to hear what a struggle it is for some people just to find enough food to stay alive.
Over recent months, the whole world has been focused on the humanitarian crises in the Philippines and Syria, but we’ve also got to realise there are these hidden hunger emergencies in countries like Uganda, where the need for action is just as urgent.
 “I spoke to women who told me that they have to leave their children each morning – sometimes for the whole day – to forage for food, or find wood to sell in order to buy something to eat. They told me they foraged for fruit which sounds nutritious but when you see what they are actually eating its berries and leaves, or small figs and tamarind dried out by the relentless sun. “We live in a world which produces enough food for everyone, so it makes no sense that one in eight people around the world go hungry each day – and almost one in three people in countries like Uganda.
Access to food is such a basic human right, but when crops fail or the rains don’t come, the communities I met can find themselves on the brink of starvation. “The reasons people go hungry can sometimes be very complex, whether it’s climate change, conflict, or a lack of suitable farmland. But what I have seen is that there are also very simple solutions – ways CAFOD are helping people to feed their own families without having to rely on emergency hand outs – whether it’s helping them to grow crops which are drought-resistant, or working to resolve conflicts over resources. “Everyone raising funds or donating money during the Dig Deep campaign can be sure that their efforts will make a huge difference in countries like Uganda, and help some of the poorest and most vulnerable families in the world to put food on their tables.”
 CAFOD has been working in Uganda since 1985 to reduce conflict, improve basic needs, provide emergency nutrition during drought periods, and help communities argue for better support from the government. CAFOD’s partner, Caritas Moroto, ensures better access to food and water for the most vulnerable communities, helping families to grow more food and improve their household income by selling surplus produce. To reduce malnutrition and the need for emergency food aid, Caritas Moroto provides drought-resistant seeds and trains farmers to help them increase their harvest. They also teach bee-keeping skills so that communities can produce and sell honey. In parallel with Dig Deep, CAFOD’s Hungry for Change campaign is calling for more aid to be directed at small-scale farmers to help them grow their businesses and feed their communities not just their families. It is also calling for better checks on the power of multinational food companies so that the global food system better supports the poor and everyone has enough to eat.
SHARED FROM IND. CATHOLIC NEWS

POPE FRANCIS "“A faith that does not bear fruit in works is not faith.”

“A faith that does not bear fruit in works is not faith.” This was the affirmation with which Pope Francis opened his remarks at Mass on Friday, following the readings of the day. The Holy Father offered the Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, for the intention of Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, emeritus Archbishop of Florence, on his 90th birthday. The Pope thanked Cardinal Piovanelli for “his work, his witness and his goodness.”

The world is full of Christians who often recite the words of the Creed, while very seldom putting them into practice – [and of] erudite [scholars] who reduce theology to a series of neat categories, neatly removed and shielded from having any influence on real life. It is a danger that St. James feared even two thousand years ago, and that Pope Francis made the subject of his remarks to the faithful after the day’s readings on Friday, “[St. James’ statement],” said Pope Francis, commenting on the passage from his Letter, which was read at Mass, “is clear: faith without fruit in life, a faith that does not bear fruit in works, is not faith.”

“Also, we often make the mistake of saying: ‘But I have a lot of faith’, [and] ‘I believe everything, everything ...’- and maybe this person who says [something like this] leads a lukewarm life, a weak [life]. His faith is as a theory, though it is not alive in his life. The Apostle James, when he speaks of faith, speaks precisely of doctrine, of that, which is what is the content of the faith. Nevertheless, one might learn all the commandments , all the prophecies , all the truths of faith, though if these are not put into practice, put to work, they are useless. We can recite the Creed theoretically, even without faith, and there are many people who do so – even the demons! The demons know very well what is said in the Creed and know that it is the Truth.”

The words of Pope Francis echo the assertion of St. James: “You believe that there is one God? You do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” The difference , the Pope added, is that the demons do not “have faith” insofar as authentic faith, “is not [merely] to possess knowledge.” Rather, “[to have faith means] receiving the message of God,” brought by Christ. The Holy Father went on to say that, in the Gospel, there are two telltale signs of those, who, “know what is to be believed, but do not have faith.” The first sign is a tendency to “casuistry”, represented by those who asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes, or which of the seven brothers of the husband would have to marry the widowed woman. The second sign is a commitment to “ideology”:

“Christians who think of faith as a system of ideas, ideologically: there were such as these even ing Jesus’ own day. The Apostle John says of them, that they were the antichrist, the ideologues of faith, of whatsoever [ideological] stamp they might have been. At that time there were the Gnostics, but there will [always] be many – and thus, those who fall into casuistry or those who fall into ideology are Christians who know the doctrine, but without faith, like demons. The difference is that the demons tremble, these Christians, no: they live peacefully.”

The Pope recalled how in the Gospels, there are also examples of “people who do not know the doctrine, but have so much faith.” He went on to mention the episode of the Canaanite woman, who, with her faith obtains healing for her daughter, who was the victim of possession, and the Samaritan woman who opens her heart because, he says, “she has not met with abstract truths,” but “Jesus Christ.” Then there is the blind man healed by Jesus, who then faces interrogation by the Pharisees and teachers of the law until he kneels with humility and adores the one who healed him. Three people, said Pope Francis, who show how faith and witness are inseparable:

“Faith is an encounter with Jesus Christ, with God, from which faith is born, and from there it brings you to witness. That is what the Apostle means: a faith without works , a faith that does not involve one’s [whole] self, that does not lead to witness, is not faith. It is words – and nothing more than words.”



Text from Vatican Radio website 


NEW STATE IN INDIA - ANDHRA PRADESH DIVIDED - TELANGANA 29TH STATE

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
The Rajya Sabha ( Upper House ) approves the decree for the division of Andhra Pradesh. Now it only needs the signature of President Pranab Mukherjee for the "official" birth of the 29th state in the country. Many continue to criticize the decision: "The development of the area will stop".


Hyderabad ( AsiaNews) - The only thing missing for the "official" birth of Telangana, the 29th state of India is a signature. Yesterday, the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, the decree states that the division of Andhra Pradesh. With the ratification of the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee , the region of Telangana will become a State to all intents and purposes.

The decision of the Rajya Sabha was greeted with joy by many independence supporters, who marched through the streets with banners and posters. However,doubts remain among the same population of Andhra Pradesh. Many fear that the split will only lead to an impoverishment of the two states, instead of representing a stimulus for the development of Telangana .

About 35 million people live in the region of Telangana , that stands on a plateau rich in agricultural resources, but it is also one of the poorest areas of India. It comprises 10 districts of Andhra Pradeshes' 23. The area also includes Hyderabad, the capital, which will be shared capital for 10 years, after which it will remain in Telangana. Thus Andhra Pradesh will have to develop a new one.

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

Thursday, February 20, 2014


POPE FRANCIS records special message to Pentecostal gathering via iPhone - Full Text - Video

A video message was recorded on an iPhone by a Pentecostal pastor named Tony Palmer. Pope Francis knew Palmer in Argentina.  The Pope says all Christians share blame for their divisions and he says that God will bring the miracle of Christian unity to completion.
Here is the complete transcript: “Two rules: Love God above all, and love the other (neighbor), because he is your brother and sister. With these two rules we can go ahead. I am here with my brother, my bishop brother, Tony Palmer. We’ve been friends for years. He told me about your conference, about your meeting. And it’s my pleasure to greet you. A greeting both joyful and nostalgic (yearning). Joyful because it gives me joy that you have come together to worship Jesus Christ the only Lord. And to pray to the Father and to receive the Holy Spirit. This brings me joy because we can see that God is working all over the world. Nostalgic (yearning) because but…it happens, as within our suburbs. In the suburbs there are families that love each other and families that don’t love each other. Families that come together and families who separate themselves. We are kind of…permit me to say, separated.
(SKIP to 31:42 for Pope Francis)Separated because, it’s sin that has separated us, all our sins. The misunderstandings throughout history. It has been a long road of sins that we all shared in. Who is to blame? We all share the blame. We have all sinned. There is only one blameless, the Lord. I am nostalgic (yearning), that this separation comes to an end and gives us communion. I am nostalgic (yearning), of that embrace that the Holy Scripture speaks of when Joseph’s brothers began to starve from hunger, they went to Egypt, to buy, so that they could eat. They went to buy. They had money. But they couldn’t eat the money. But there they found something more than food, they found their brother. All of us have currency. The currency of our culture. The currency of our history. We have lot of cultural riches, and religious riches. And we have diverse traditions. But we have to encounter one another as brothers. We must cry together like Joseph did. These tears will unite us. The tears of love. I am speaking to you as a brother. I speak to you in a simple way. With joy and nostalgia (yearning). Let us allow our nostalgia (yearning) to grow, because this will propel us to find each other, to embrace one another. And together to worship Jesus Christ as the only Lord of History. I thank you profoundly for listening to me. I thank you profoundly for allowing me to speak the language of the heart. And I also ask you a favor. Please pray for me, because I need your prayers. And I will pray for you, I will do it, but I need your prayers. And let us pray to the Lord that He unites us all. Come on, we are brothers. Let’s give each other a spiritual hug and let God complete the work that he has begun. And this is a miracle; the miracle of unity has begun. A famous Italian author named Manzoni, once wrote in his novel, of a simle man amongst the people, who once said this, “I’ve never seen God begin a miracle without Him finishing it well.” He will complete this miracle of unity. I ask you to bless me, and I bless you. From brother to brother, I embrace you. Thank you.”

TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 21 : ST. PETER DAMIAN


St. Peter Damian
BISHOP, CONFESSOR, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: February 21


Information:
Feast Day:February 14
Born:
988, Ravenna
Died:February 22, 1072, Faenza
Peter, surnamed of Damian, was born about the year 988 in Ravenna, of a good family, but reduced. He was the youngest of many children, and, losing his father and mother very young, was left in the hands of a brother who was married, in whose house he was treated more like a slave, or rather like a beast, than one so nearly related; and when grown up, he was sent to keep swine. He one day became master of a piece of money, which, instead of laying it out in something for his own use, he chose to bestow in alms on a priest, desiring him to offer up his prayers for his father's soul. He had another brother called Damian, who was arch-priest of Ravenna, and afterwards a monk; who, taking pity of him, had the charity to give him an education. Having found a father in this brother, he seems from him to have taken the surname of Damian, though he often styles himself the Sinner, out of humility. Those who call him De Honestis confound him with Peter of Ravenna, who was of the family of Honesti. Damian sent Peter to school, first at Faenza, afterwards at Parma, where he had Ivo for his master. By the means of good natural parts and close application, it was not long before he found himself in a capacity to teach others, which he did with great applause, and no less advantage by the profits which accrued to him from his professorship. To arm himself against the allurements of pleasure and the artifices of the devil, he began to wear a rough hair shirt under his clothes, and to inure himself to fasting, watching, and prayer. In the night, if any temptation of concupiscence arose, he got out of bed and plunged himself into the cold river. After this he visited churches,  reciting the psalter whilst he performed this devotion till the church office began. He not only gave much away in alms, but was seldom without some poor person at his table, and took a pleasure in serving such, or rather Jesus Christ in their persons, with his own hands. But thinking all this to be removing himself from the deadly poison of sin but by halves, he resolved entirely to leave the world and embrace a monastic life, and at a distance from his own country, for the sake of meeting with the fewer obstacles to his design. While his mind was full of these thoughts, two religious of the order of St. Benedict belonging to Font-Avellano, a desert at the foot of the Apennine in Umbria, happened to call at the place of his abode; and being much edified at their disinterestedness, he took a resolution to embrace their institute, as he did soon after. This hermitage had been founded by blessed Ludolf about twenty years before St. Peter came thither, and was then in the greatest repute. The hermits here remained two and two together in separate cells, occupied chiefly in prayer and reading. They lived on bread and water four days in the week: on Tuesdays and Thursdays they ate pulse and herbs, which every one dressed in his own cell: on their fast days all their bread was given them by weight. They never used any wine (the common drink of the country) except for mass, or in sickness: they went barefoot, used disciplines, made many genuflections, struck their breasts, stood with their arms stretched out in prayer, each according to his strength and devotion. After the night office they said the whole psalter before day. Peter watched long before the signal for matins, and after with the rest These excessive watchings brought on him an insomnia, or wakefulness, which was cured with very great difficulty. But he learned from this to use more discretion He gave a considerable time to sacred studies, and became as well versed in the scriptures and other sacred learning as he was before in profane literature.
His superior ordered him to make frequent exhortations to the religious, and as he had acquired a very great character for virtue and learning, Guy, Abbot of Pomposia, begged his superior to send him to instruct his monastery, which consisted of a hundred monks. Peter stayed there two years, preaching with great fruit, and was then called back by his abbot, and sent to perform the same function in the numerous abbey of St. Vincent, near the mountain called Pietra Pertusa, or the Hollow Rock. His love for poverty made him abhor and be ashamed to put on a new habit, or any clothes which were not threadbare and most mean. His obedience was so perfect that the least word of any superior, or signal given, according to the rule of the house, for the performance of any duty made him run that moment to discharge, with the utmost exactness, whatever was enjoined. Being recalled home some time after, and commanded by his abbot, with the unanimous consent of the hermitage, to take upon him the government of the desert after his death, Peter's extreme reluctance only obliged his superior to make greater use of his authority till he acquiesced. Wherefore, at his decease, in 1041, Peter took upon him the direction of that holy family, which he governed with the greatest reputation for wisdom and sanctity. He also founded five other numerous hermitages; in which he placed priors under his inspection. His principal care was to cherish in his disciples the spirit of solitude, charity, and humility. Among them many became great lights of the church. He was for twelve years much employed in the service of the church by many zealous bishops, and by four popes successively, namely, Gregory VI, Clement II, Leo IX, and Victor II. Their successor, Stephen IX, in 1057, prevailed with him to quit his desert, and made him Cardinal-bishop of Ostia. But such was his reluctance to the dignity that nothing less than the pope's threatening him with excommunication, and his commands, in virtue of obedience, could induce Peter to submit.
Stephen IX dying in 1058, Nicholas II was chosen pope, a man  of deep penetration, of great virtue and learning, and very liberal in alms, as our saint testifies, who assisted him in obliging John, Bishop of Veletri, an anti-pope, set up by the capitaneos or magistrates of Rome, to quit his usurped dignity. Upon complaints of simony in the church of Milan, Nicholas II sent Peter thither as his legate, who chastised the guilty. Nicholas II dying, after having sat two years and six months, Alexander was chosen pope, in 1602. Peter strenuously supported him against the emperor, who set up an anti-pope, Cadolaus, Bishop of Parma, on whom the saint prevailed soon after to renounce his pretensions in a council held at Rome; and engaged Henry IV, King of Germany, who was afterwards emperor, to acquiesce in what had been done, though that prince, who in his infancy had succeeded his pious father Henry III, had sucked in very early the corrupt maxims of tyranny and irreligion. But virtue is amiable in the eyes of its very enemies, and often disarms them of their fury. St. Peter had, with great importunity, solicited Nicholas II for leave to resign his bishopric, and return to his solitude; but could not obtain it. His successor, Alexander II, out of affection for the holy man, was prevailed upon to allow it, in 1062, but not without great difficulty, and the reserve of a power to employ him in church matters of importance as he might have occasion hereafter for his assistance. The saint from that time thought himself discharged, not only from the burden of his flock, but also from the quality of superior, with regard to the several monasteries the general inspection of which he had formerly charged himself with, reducing himself to the condition of a simple monk.
In this retirement he edified the church by his penance and compunction, and laboured by his writings to enforce the observance of discipline and morality. His style is copious and vehement, and the strictness of his maxims appears in all his. works, especially where he treats of the duties of clergymen and monks. He severely rebuked the Bishop of Florence for playing a game at chess. That prelate acknowledged his amusement to be a faulty sloth in a man of his character, and received the saint's remonstrance with great mildness, and submitted to his injunction by way of penance, namely, to recite three times the psalter, to wash the feet of twelve poor men, and to give to each a piece of money. He shows those to be guilty of manifold simony who serve princes or flatter them for the sake of obtaining ecclesiastical preferments. He wrote a treatise to the bishop of Besanzon, against the custom which the canons of that church had of saying the divine office sitting; though he allowed all to sit during the lessons. This saint recommended the use of disciplines whereby to subdue and punish the flesh, which was adopted as a compensation for long penitential fasts. Three thousand lashes, with the recital of thirty psalms, were a redemption of a canonical penance of one year's continuance. Sir Thomas More, St. Francis of Sales, and others testify that such means of mortification are great helps to tame the flesh and inure it to the lab ours of penance; also to remove a hardness of heart and spiritual dryness, and to soften the soul into compunction. But all danger of abuses, excess, and singularity is to be shunned, and other ordinary bodily mortifications, as watching and fasting, are frequently more advisable. This saint wrote most severely on the obligations of religious men,4 particularly against their strolling abroad; for one of the most essential qualities of their state is solitude, or at least the spirit of retirement. He complained loudly of certain evasions, by which many palliated real infractions of their vow of poverty. He justly observed: "We can never restore what is decayed of primitive discipline; and if we, by negligence, suffer any diminution in what remains established, future ages will never be able to repair such breaches. Let us not draw upon ourselves so base a reproach; but. let us faithfully transmit to posterity the examples of virtue which we have received from our forefathers." The holy man reconciled discords, settled the bounds of the jurisdiction of certain dioceses, and condemned and deposed in councils those who were convicted of simony. He notwithstanding tempered his severity with mildness and indulgence towards penitents where charity and prudence required such a condescension. Henry IV, King of Germany, at eighteen years of age, began to show the symptoms of a heart abandoned to impiety, infamous debauchery, treachery, and cruelty. He married, in 1066, Bertha, daughter to Otho, Marquess of Italy, but afterward, in 1069, sought a divorce by taking his oath that he had never been able to consummate his marriage. The Archbishop of Mentz had the weakness to be gained over by his artifices to favour his desires, in which view he assembled a council at Mentz. Pope Alexander II forbad him ever to consent to so enormous an injustice, and pitched upon Peter Damian for his legate to preside in that synod, being sensible that a person of the most inflexible virtue, prudence, and constancy was necessary for so important and difficult an affair, in which passion, power, and craft made use of every engine in opposition to the cause of God. The venerable legate met the king and bishops at Frankfort, laid before them the orders and instructions of his holiness, and in his name conjured the king to pay a due regard to the law of God, the canons of the church, and his own reputation, and seriously reflect on the public scandal of so pernicious an example. The noblemen likewise all rose up and entreated his majesty never to stain his honour by so foul an action. The king, unable to resist so cogent an authority, dropped his project of a divorce; but, remaining the same man in his heart, continued to hate the queen more than ever.
St. Peter hastened back to his desert of Font-Avellano. Whatever austerities he prescribed to others he was the first to practice himself, remitting nothing of them even in his old age. He lived shut up in his cell as in a prison, fasted every day, except festivals, and allowed himself no other subsistence than coarse bread, bran, herbs, and water, and this he never drank fresh, but what he had kept from the day before. He tortured his body with iron girdles and frequent disciplines, to render it more obedient to the spirit. He passed the three first days of every Lent and Advent without taking any kind of nourishment whatsoever; and often for forty days together lived only on raw herbs and fruits, or on pulse steeped in cold water, without touching so much as bread, or any thing which had passed the fire. A mat spread on the floor was his bed. He used to make wooden spoons, and such like useful mean things, to exercise himself at certain hours in manual labour. Henry, Archbishop of Ravenna, having been excommunicated for grievous enormities, St. Peter was sent by Pope Alexander II, in quality of legate, to adjust the affairs of the church. When he arrived at Ravenna, in 1072, he found the unfortunate prelate just dead, but brought the accomplices of his crimes to a sense of their guilt, and imposed on them a suitable penance. This was his last undertaking for the church, God being pleased soon after to call him to eternal rest, and to the crown of his labours. Old age and the fatigues of his journey did not make him lay aside his accustomed mortifications, by which he consummated his holocaust. In his return towards Rome, he was stopped by a fever in the monastery of our Lady without the gates of Faenza, and died there on the eighth day of his sickness, whilst the monks were reciting matins round about him. He passed from that employment which had been the delight of his heart on earth to sing the same praises of God in eternal glory, on the 22nd of February, 1072, being fourscore and three years old. He is honoured as patron at Faenza and Font-Avellano on the 23rd of the same month.




source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stpeterdamian.asp#ixzz1n2mqLnHe
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